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Research and Development Drives Innovation

R&D is one of California's Comparative Advantages 

Industrial Research and Development (R&D) in California totaled $50.6 billion, representing almost 25% of the national total.[i] California is the nation's center for research and ranks number one in federal and academic research intensity.[ii] The state offers a 15-24% R&D tax credit to businesses, made possible by large share of federal funding for R&D. There are 40 federal laboratories in California, more than any other state.[iii]

While the state consistently performs well in terms of total R&D, in the ITIF reports that California falls within the bottom quartile of states in terms of non-industry investment in R&D (non-industry being investments from federal, state, university, or non-profit organizations).[iv]

The University of California is Key to State's Global Leadership

The University of California system fuels California's economy by influence of direct and indirect spending and through its direct contributions of workforce and technology to industry clusters. Total research and development expenditures by the University of California during the 2008-2009 school year was $500 billion.[v]  The UC Technology Transfer Program is first among U.S. universities, both in terms of the number of patents granted and in the number of successfully commercialized inventions, more than 1,000 inventions a year.

According to Milken Institute's “Research and Development through Technology Transfer,” 2,226 total licenses were issued to startups from the University of California in 2009. 461 startup companies were formed with UC inventions since 1976, including 48 in 2008 and 47 in 2009. The significance of the UC system to research economies can be demonstrated by California's biotechnology sector. By 2003, some 604 biomedical startups had been spun-off from California research institutions, 55% of which were from UC. One in four of all U.S. public biotech firms are within 35 miles of a University of California campus.[vi]

Governor Gray Davis created the four "Institutes for Science and Innovation" in 2000 to support sector technology, foster economic growth, and benefit society through those efforts. He outlined a plan to use research from UC campuses to drive innovation and economic vitality in California, which became a $1.2 billion enterprise funded by extra cash generated with the dot-com boom that collaborated with the research efforts of industry and California universities.[vii] The four institutes are today the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research, the California Nanosystems Initiative, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, and the Center for Information Technology Research In the Interest of Society.[viii]

The California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3) uses quantitative science to increase modern scientific understanding of biological systems and serves as a major training center to California scientists. The ultimate goal of this institute is the research of new cures to improve human health and expand modern medicinal knowledge.[ix] The program includes researchers at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz. The centers have more than 200 private-sector partners who work with them to translate research into products that help Californians.[x]

The California Nanosystems Initiative (CNSI), led by the UCLA campus cooperating with UC Santa Barbara, explores new ways to manufacture products and advance information technology through the exploration of nano-biotechnology, electronics and mechanics. [xi]

The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (CALIT2), led at UC San Diego cooperating with UC Irvine, is a multi-disciplinary institute focusing on research and development of prototype technologies to extend the reach and capacity of the Internet, and vastly expanding the speed, scope and efficiency of communication in the 21st Century.[xii]

The Center for Information Technology Research In the Interest of Society (CITRIS), led by UC Berkeley cooperating with UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, and UC Merced, is focused on harnessing information technology to tackle society’s most critical needs, including energy, transportation, seismic safety, education, healthcare, farming, and the environment. [xiii]

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